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. >> reporter: while both candidates are practicing in private, president obama held a closed-door session this afternoon. and publicly their campaigns are showering the opponents with praise. a message from one expert outlines romney's skills as a prepared, aggressive, debater. the romney campaign is touting president obama's natural gifts and the extensive seasoning under the bright lights of the bright stage. today, in a mock debate, senator john kerry dismissed the idea that the republican nominee is an experienced debater, pointing to more than 20 debates. >> oh please, just give me 20 breaks, not just one. >> reporter: but analysts saying given the state of the race, the burden may be on the challenger. >> he has to do something to get people to take a deep breath, and say wait a minute, well, i thought i made a decision about supporting the president but maybe i better look a second time at mitt romney, that is what he needs to do. >> reporter: and one other thing on today's flight this evening, mitt romney said that people tend to during the debates, focus on the small things, like
. secretary of state hillary clinton met with benjamin netanyahu. president obama was campaigning in virginia thursday, the white house said too busy to meet with the prime minister. earlier he laid down his red lines for stopping iran's nuclear program. >> this is a bomb. this is a fuse. >> reporter: netanyahu spoke a day after iran's president ahmadinejad from the same podium had called israel uncivilized zionists. netanyahu said tehran was already 70% towards getting enough nuclear fuel for a bomb and has to be stopped within months. >> if these are the facts, and they are, where should a red line be drawn? a red line should be drawn right here. >> reporter: president obama told the u.n. this week there is more time before iran reaches a point of no return. >> america wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. >> american intelligence does not yet believe iran has made the political decision to actually build a weapon. what does israel think? >> whether or not iran made the decision will become irrelevant once we can no longer
has been running for longer than that. barack obama and mitt romney are both nearing the end of intense debate prep, and coaching sessions. and at this point, they're designed either to create or prevent that moment that we've all seen that can somehow change the race. and with millions of americans watching these debates like a kind of super bowl of american politics, the stakes are high as the two men face each other in denver, just two days from now. we begin tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom. andrea, good evening. >> good evening, brian. it is the political super bowl, or perhaps the world series. mitt romney, behind in all battleground polls for the last three weeks, now has the most to gain from a game-changing night. and the most to lose if he doesn't turn it around. as the candidates head to debate camp, rolling up their sleeves, getting down to work, each claims to be the underdog. >> governor romney, he's -- he's a good debater. i'm just okay. >> he plays, barack obama, he plays them well, too. i hate to tell you. >> reporter: mitt romney pract
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